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  • Condition Report

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Perrotin, Seoul
    Private Collection, Asia
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Seoul, Galerie Perrotin, MADSAKI: BADA BING, BADA BOOM, 15 November 2017 – 13 January 2018

  • Catalogue Essay

    MADSAKI, a Japan-born visual artist known only by a pseudonym, is one of the rising stars of the contemporary art world. Known for his signature use of spray paint, his works cast a critical eye upon mass culture and art historical tropes – both examining the cultural value systems inherent to making art, and re-interpreting them in his inimitable style.

    MADSAKI’s journey as an artist is no less unconventional than his work. Moving to the States as a 6-year old boy, his early encounters with New York’s graffitied streets left a deep impression. But after graduating from the prestigious Parsons School of Design, he decided to become a New York bike messenger ‘to get away from art’. An unexpected turn of events in quick succession put an end to his hiatus from the art world: first a road accident which crushed his bike but left him unscathed, which consequently caused him to miss his shift at the World Trade Center on the morning of 9/11. A few days later came an unexpected invitation from an old friend to paint with The Barnstormers, a collective of experimental artists who were working on a project in the city. The encounter was to prove significant, changing his perspective on art, and life, entirely:

    “I was hesitant, but I came out eventually because I had nothing else to do. It blew my mind! There were rollers and spray cans. I had never seen art like this and the untraditional ways of painting. This felt right. This made me realise that I wanted to do art.” (Madsaki, quoted in Kim Bui Kollar, “Quirky Japanese artist Madsaki”, Hashtag Legend, 4 June 2018, online).

    Resuming his art practice after a ten-year break, he experimented until he settled upon his trademark technique of utilising spray paint – a medium more commonly associated with street art and graffiti - to create ‘fine art’. Using stencil caps attached to the spray can to produce a refined spray of paint, he explained:

    “I prefer dripping or grimy lines to clean lines. I really do not try and paint finely at all. There are way too many people who are good at painting beautifully. I’m happy to leave that up to them. […] I am painting with spray, not with a brush.” (MADSAKI, quoted in Takuya Nakao, “MADSAKI: BADA BING, BADA BOOM”, Perrotin, November 2017, online)

    Untitled, one of the works from MADSAKI’s Character Series, was created after MADSAKI’s return to Japan and speaks to the disorienting experiences between two cultures that formed his aesthetics and personality. Mixing cultural traditions and storytelling with an eclectic ensemble of instantly-recognisable American cartoons and Japanese manga characters, Untitled brings together Sesame Street’s Big Bird, Beavis and Butthead, Star Wars’ R2-D2 and C-3PO, Homer and Bart Simpson, Stimpy from Nickelodeon’s Ren and Stimpy Show, as well as Gatchan and King Nikochan from Dr. Slump and Dragon Ball Z. MADSAKI explained his emotional connection to these characters:

    “I grew up watching all those American and Japanese cartoons. I just wanted to mash up all the things that have a special meaning to me from that time. […] To me, [Big Bird] represents English language and would never swear. But I can make them do what they would never do. It’s a weird kind of self-portrait.” (MADSAKI, quoted in Laurel Tuohy, “MADSAKI: Interview with street-meets-fine art Japanese painter ahead of Bangkok show”, Coconuts Bangkok, 8 May 2018, online)

    Satirical, yet sentimental, MADSAKI employs slogans to drive home his subversive brand of art-making. ‘Who’s buying peace?’, the sign held up by Big Bird in Untitled, is a reconfigured phrase taken from Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?, an iconic album by American thrash metal band Megadeth. The title track’s lyrics express disillusionment with the American way of life and yearning for a new social structure – a parallel sentiment arguably echoed in postwar Japan. Aggressive, cryptic and vulnerable all at once, Untitled opens up a crucial dialogue concerning the value of art and the role of the artist within mass culture. MADSAKI captures the zeitgeist of our times, like other artists who rebelled against conventions and eventually came to define the spirit of their era. Unafraid to speak to power structures and cultural divisions like Basquiat, unafraid to use appropriation as a tool for social commentary like Warhol, and unafraid to embrace popular culture like KAWS, MADSAKI is the embodiment of a new art world order.

    MADSAKI’s uncompromising approach to art has won him many fans, including fellow Japanese icon Takashi Murakami, who hails the younger artist’s “bottomless talent” and has bought dozens of pieces for his personal “Superflat” collection. Today MADSAKI is represented by several prominent international art galleries, including Galerie Perrotin (where MADSAKI first unveiled Untitled at his solo show BADA BING, BADA BOOM in 2017) and Kaikai Kiki Gallery in Tokyo.

  • Catalogue Essay


    MADSAKI的藝術旅程與其作品一樣非同尋常。6歲移居美國,早年於塗鴉遍佈的紐約街道之接觸給他留下了深刻的印象。但從著名的帕森斯設計學院畢業之後,他決定要成為紐約的一名自行車信差,藉此「擺脫藝術」。然而一連串連續發生的意外事件將他帶回了藝術世界:首先是一次車禍撞毀了他的自行車,而他則毫髮無損,並因此在9/11當天上午沒能趕得上去世界貿易中心上班。幾天之後,他的一位老朋友意外地邀請他參與實驗藝術家團體The Barnstormers正在紐約市進行的項目中一起創作。這次的偶遇事後證明意義非凡,並且完全改變了他對藝術,以及人生的看法:

    「我當時很猶豫,但最終還是去了,因為我也沒什麼別的事可做。但卻讓我大開眼界!滾筒、噴漆罐到處都是。我從未見過那樣的藝術和如此非傳統的繪畫方式。那種感覺很對。這讓我意識到我要做藝術。」(Madsaki,引自Kim Bui Kollar,《古怪的日本藝術家Madsaki》,Hashtag Legend,2018年6月4日,截自網路)。


    「相比清晰的線條,我更偏愛自然流下或不刻意的線條。我真的完全不想嘗試畫得精美。有很多人擅長繪畫而且可以畫得很美。那些精美的繪畫就交給他們來做好了 […] 我是用噴漆來畫的,而不是用畫筆。」(MADSAKI,引自Takuya Nakao, 《BADA BING, BADA BOOM》, 貝浩登畫廊,2017年11月,截自網路)

    《無題》,出自MADSAKI卡通系列中的一件作品,創作於MADSAKI回到日本後,表達了他在處於兩種文化之間充滿迷失感的體驗中所形成的美學與個性。將文化傳統和那些具有高辨識度的敍事文本美國卡通以及日本漫畫人物的廣泛組合融為一體,《無題》把《芝麻街》裡的大鳥、癟四與大頭蛋、《星球大戰》中的R2-D2和 C-3PO、霍默和巴特·辛普森、尼克兒童頻道的《萊恩和史丁比》中的史丁比,以及《阿拉蕾》和《龍珠Z》中的阿卡和尼古拉大王都聚集到了一起。關於自己對這些人物的感情,MADSAKI解釋說:

    「我從小看著這些美國和日本的卡通片長大。我只想把所有這些當時對我有著特殊意義的東西混合在一起。[…] 對我來說,(大鳥)代表了英語,而且絕不會講粗話。但我可以讓他們做他們永遠不會做的事。這是一種奇怪的自畫像。」(MADSAKI,引自Laurel Tuohy,《MADSAKI:與日本街頭遇見藝術的畫家在曼谷展覽前的訪問》,Coconuts Bangkok,2018年5月8日,截自網路)

    具有諷刺性,卻又不乏善感,MADSAKI運用口號來強調他顛覆性的藝術創作。在《無題》中,大鳥舉著的標誌「Who’s buying peace?」改編自美國的鞭擊金属樂隊「麥加帝斯」的標誌性唱片《Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?》中的一個短語。標題曲目的歌詞表達了對美國式生活的幻想破滅和對新的社會結構之渴望——一種可以說在戰後日本有著相似共鳴的情緒。同時具有激烈性、神秘性,和脆弱感,《無題》開啟了一場關於藝術的價值和藝術家在大眾文化中所扮演角色的關鍵性對話。就像其他反叛傳統,並最終定義了他們所處時代精神的藝術家一樣,MADSAKI代表的捕捉到了我們這個時代的精神。就像巴斯奇亞毫不畏懼地批評權利結構和文化分歧,就像沃荷毫不畏懼地以挪用作為社會評論的工具,就像KAWS毫不畏懼地接受流行文化,MADSAKI正是新的藝術世界秩序之體現。

    MADSAKI對藝術毫不妥協的態度為他贏得了許多粉絲,其中包括日本偶像級藝術家村上隆,對這位年輕藝術家的「無限才能」稱讚不已,並購入了他的數十件作品,作為自己個人的「超扁平」藝術收藏。如今,MADSAKI由數家著名的國際藝術畫廊代理,其中包括貝浩登畫廊( MADSAKI於2017年在畫廊的個展《BADA BING, BADA BOOM》上首次展示《無題》),以及東京的Kaikai Kiki畫廊。

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signed and dated 'Madsaki 2017' on the overlap
acrylic and aerosol on canvas
150 x 150 cm. (59 x 59 in.)
Executed in 2017.

HK$1,000,000 - 2,000,000 

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Contact Specialist
Charlotte Raybaud
Head of Evening Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 24 November 2019